See what happens when you don't play games?
Given this response in 1958, it's not difficult to move forward to today, when most people would rather be entertained than think about the work scientists in white lab coats conduct for the governments and oligarchies who fund their research.
What was he thinking?
Higginbotham could have patented his invention and earned oodles of money while the world went on playing games. Even the patent lawyer for one of Magnavox's competitors might have helped him make some money off his invention.
While I realize working for the government means they would have owned the patent (anything you invent under the umbrella of the government belongs to the government), but it's kind of ironic that Higginbotham is remembered more for a bouncing ball than for his noteworthy work in nuclear physics.
It just goes to show that no matter how hard you work, no matter how much you sacrifice, sometimes all any of us can hope to be remembered for might end up being something silly - like a video game.
I guess it's a good lesson in not taking oneself too seriously.